Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Heart Thursday

This past weekend I went to visit my grandmother in Plattsburgh, NY and was lucky enough to make it over to Target! I haven't had a chance to go over there since it opened a few months ago. That and I hate the idea of spending $22 to go over on the ferry and back just to go shopping. Now that I have been there, though, I might change my mind!

It was awesome and I got lots of great stuff, including a case of this Izze Fortified Sparkling Juice. I got the Sparkling Pomegranate and it is all I want to drink now. Not only is it super tasty, but apparently it's good for you too! It doesn't have any added sugar and contains pure fruit juice. I think my case of 8 is not going to last me very long.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Catch The Spirit

On Tuesday night I had the pleasure of dining on the Spirit of Ethan Allen dinner cruise on Lake Champlain. I have lived in the Burlington area for almost a decade but had never made it on any of their famed cruises. Lucky for me, my work decided it was the perfect retreat for a sales conference and we were all invited to come along.

We lucked out and it was a gorgeous day- sunny and yet mild compared to what the temperature had been lately.

The Spirit of Ethan Allen does a nightly dinner cruise, with a different theme each night, but you can also book space on the cruise for a wedding or function and have them cater an entirely different menu. I was excited to see what it was like and to taste the food and check out the interior of the ship.

You can choose whether or not you want to have your ceremony on board the ship as well as your reception. If you do book the boat for your reception than a ceremony is included, free of charge, in the package- so it is something to consider. Also, there are many decks on the boat that offer stunning panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains that would make for a breathtaking ceremony. This is a pic on the forward deck of the boat, which is normally outfitted with tables and chairs and has a casual bar feeling to it.

We had dinner on the lower deck of the boat, which is where you initially come into after you board. There were several other rooms above that were reserved for special parties, that I am sure would be where a wedding event would take place. The walls were all windows which allowed for amazing views all around of the water, boats passing by, and the mountains.

The night that I dined aboard The Spirit was Italian Night, or Mangia Mia as they call it. For appetizers we had an Antipasto plate with pickeled and roasted veggies, several different kinds of cheeses, and some bread. We also got some flatbread pizza topped with fresh mozzerella, black olives and cilantro. It was all very tasty! For dinner we had the choice between four entrees. I got the Frutti di Mare which was an assortment of scallops, shrimp, calamari, and white fish in a tasty tomato based broth with potatoes. To finish the evening we had some Tiramisu which was really good- light and fluffy with a perfect balance of chocolate and espresso.

Of course the real reason the Spirit of Ethan Allen makes a great choice for weddings is the views of the Adirondacks and Green Mountains, especially at sunset. We were lucky that it was the perfect evening for viewing the sunset, and I happened to be seated on the right side of the boat next to a window! I got so many amazing views of the sun setting behind the mountains.

For more information on booking the Spirit of Ethan Allen for your wedding, or Sunday brunch buffet (which I hear is amazing- gotta check that one out next!), view their website here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Shred

Due to an abundance of great local micro-brews and amazing restaurants, I have been feeling a little more round and soft in the middle lately. I have been ignoring the signs for a few months, trying to brush it off as nothing more than a few vigorous hikes could take care of, but when most of your wardrobe starts to feel tight and more than one pair of pants loses a button in a week, it's a sign. A giant, red, flashing sign that something must be done. And fast.

Since I can't afford to get a whole new wardrobe I decided to suck it up and try the 30 Day Shred - you have probably heard of it as it has been all the buzz on the internet lately. It is an exercise plan developed by Jillian Michaels, the head trainer on the show The Biggest Loser, and it follows the formula of 3 minutes strength training, 2 minutes cardio, one minute abs. The workout is only 20 minutes and there are three levels that get progressively harder as you go on.

Sounds pretty straight forward right? 20 minutes sounds like a piece of cake!

Today was my second day on The Shred and let me just tell you, it totally Kicks. My. Butt. I am sweating harder after that 20 minutes than I do hiking up Mt. Mansfield for two hours. Jillian Michaels is crazy. My arms are incredibly sore, walking down stairs makes my legs go weak, and both mornings I did the workout I thought I was going to puke right after. And I am only on level 1. But no pain, no gain (or loss), right!?

In order to stay motivated I thought I would chronicle my journey here, that way I know I have to keep up with it!! And I imagine that some of you Brides-to-be are planning on doing some sort of weight loss regimen in preparation for the big day and could benefit from an in depth revue of this popular video. In addition to doing the 30 Day Shred, I am also trying to modify my diet to be a bit healthier. I have cut out drinking for the most part (I still have a glass of wine every so often, but that's it) and I am eating low-fat/low-carb as often as I can. For breakfast I am drinking Slim Fast chocolate shakes made with Soy Milk- it's a super fast and easy option for me since I don't have a lot of time in the morning to make something.

So there it is- I plan on doing regular updates on both my diet/work-out progress and what changes I see in my body. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Favorite Part Might Have Been The Chocolate Fountain

This thing of beauty is what I got to gaze at all last night at the Burlington Evening Bridal Show. The smell permeated the entire floor I was on and it was all I could do to not abandon my table and go scarf down some Rice Krispie Treats covered with warm chocolate.

But seriously, I couldn't have asked for a better neighbor than the 'Chocolate Fountain Girl', as I liked to call her. She was incredibly generous and offered up all of the left-overs after the brides had filtered out to the prize drawing on the first floor. Yum.

I had a fabulous time at my first real wedding show and I felt like my table turned out better than I had hoped and I didn't feel out of place amongst the more seasoned professionals around me. I also got to see Echo for the first time and I was really impressed by the space! We were on the third, or top floor, of the building and right next to the outdoor terrace.

Here is the main part of my display with my fabulous new banner I just had made! My table came with a white tablecloth but I also brought a chocolate brown cloth to put over the top to create some interest and depth of color. I think it worked out great!

Here are my inspiration boards- unfortunately one of the easels I brought was missing some key parts and wasn't usable, but Dorothy, my awesome Mother-In-Law, came up with this stool-covered-with-an-extra-table-cloth and it worked out great!

Here is a close up of the table. I had originally thought I was getting a six foot table but it ended up being five, but even if it had been a six I think I would have had enough stuff to fill it. There were several invitations that I wasn't able to display. And to think I was afraid I didn't have enough stuff?! Pshaw! You can also see the great roses that she picked up at Costco to brighten up the display. I can't even tell you how many people asked us if we did flowers! They were so amazed when we told them we got them at Costco! (Hopefully the florist set up diagonal from us didn't mind)

This was another one of our vendor neighbors- The Spirit of Ethan Allen Cruise. They had some pretty tasty treats to give out, but I didn't get a chance to sample much.

Right next to us was Fiori Bridal, my favorite wedding gown shop of all time! They also had some models walking around with different gowns on- a sort of walking fashion show. They were all gorgeous! I kept thinking, what a fun job to wear amazing wedding dresses all night- how do you get that gig?

Down on the first floor was my friend Calais with Stowe Mountain Resort! It was great to see some familiar faces. Her display had these great hurricane glasses filled with some dark grains and white candles.

This was a jeweler on the second floor. Her stuff was really pretty, but I didn't have much time to look at everyone elses stuff.

These cupcakes were on display on the table next to Calais. I was so tempted to take one before the show even started! But I was good and left them for the brides.

Last, but certainly not least, is this little cutie pie who was hanging out at the DJ's table. He is a Sheltie and was born blind and deaf, but he was the sweatest little thing. He hung out on the table during the whole show with these headphones around his neck! He was a definite hit with the ladies and everyone that went by had to stop and pet him. I am thinking this might be a good marketing tactic, perhaps I should bring my dog Nova to my next show? Ha!

Here is the view from the terrace on the third floor. This is part of the space that you can rent at Echo and a lot of people have their ceremony out there. It was a gorgeous view and I imagine on a clear day at sunset it's just magnificent!

So there you have it, my first wedding show! It is still a little early to know if it was a success or not, but I handed out more than half of my info cards and I got three full sheets of email addresses from brides. I also had someone make an appointment with me right there on the spot! Since most of the brides were planning for Summer 2010 weddings I am not sure how soon they will be looking to purchase invitations, but hopefully I will have the opportunity to do some more shows to really get my name out there.

Now I am super tired after staying up to finish a rush invitation order so I am going to bed!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sneak Peak

Things are getting a little crazy over here, and I don't think I have ever seen my office so messy, but I wanted to give you a little sneak peak of what I am preparing for my booth at the show tomorrow. It's getting down to the wire! Thankfully I have gotten 99% of all the things I wanted to get done, done. Now I just hope I can actually get some sleep tonight!

In case you want more info on the show, check out their website here. Tickets are only $6 at the door and there are going to be some great door prizes! (Especially the ones that I am bringing-ha!) Depending on how exhausted I am after the show tomorrow night I might find the time to share pics of the show on Friday, if not than Saturday for sure!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bridesmaid Dresses Never Looked Sweeter

What better way to ask your BFFs to be your bridesmaids than with tasty, adorable cookies! They are almost too pretty to eat! (note the word 'almost') These creative confections are from The Flour Pot and are made by mother-daughter team Margie and Abbey Greenberg and at a little over $5 they are affordable, too! They also have cookies for ring bearers, flower girls, and several different bridesmaid dress designs to choose from. When presented with one of these beauties how could anyone say no?

Check out all of their other cookie gifts- including favors. They offer shipping all over the world and even take custom orders!

Found via Sweet Designs

Deep Breaths and Happy Places

Do you ever have so many things in your head that you can't think straight? So many things on your to-do list that you don't even know where to start? And for some reason it seems like the more stuff you have to do the less you want to do anything? That is about where I am right now. With 4 days left until The Show I have been scrambling all weekend to get myself in order. Of course, I am willing to admit that my type A personality and constant need for perfection is probably adding to the stress level.

I have a vision in my mind of what I want my table to look like, but having never done a wedding show before I really am at a loss for how to prepare. Thankfully I will most likely be so exhausted by Thursday that I won't care if things don't work out exactly how I planned them. (But I will be doing several dry runs at home with my kitchen table.)

So last night as I laid in bed I just couldn't shut my brain off. There were a million things streaming through my consciousness, like Twitter on crack, and it was making my head hurt. When I get like that the only way I can get to sleep is with breathing and visualization exercises. I start by controlling my breath- deep in, long out - then I focus on each individual part of my body starting with my feet, letting them relax before moving on.

When I was in high school I used to sleep over at my friend Leanne's house a lot and she had this sleep CD that we would listen to. There was a soft female voice that would command us to 'relax your arms, let them go limp, feel the stress and energy release from them', while new-age music played in the background. It sounds kind of hokey, but it honestly worked! By the time you got to your head your whole body would be in a state of relaxation and peace. It is amazing what your mind is capable of if you focus.

Now I just need to apply that same idea of focus to actually finish all of the things on my to-do list.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Heart Thursday

I know it's been a while since I have done one of these, but today I happened to be browsing through some of my favorite Etsy sellers and I reminded myself of this amazing shop, Piper & Paisley! They make the coolest hats.

I am really in loooooove with this one!

And this one too....

Or maybe this one? I can't decide- there are too many I like!

All I know is that I need to make one of these part of my Fall wardrobe this year!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If I Had Hired A Videographer For My Wedding

When we got married I didn't even look at videographers- who still does that anyway? That is so, like, 1999! Why pay someone hundreds of dollars for a video that will just end up collecting dust in the far reaches of your TV stand?

Well not if you hire someone like Joel Serrato and your wedding film ends up looking like this!

(be sure to mute my playlist down on the right before you hit play)

ainjil + chris from joel serrato on Vimeo.

See more of Ainjil & Chris' wedding on design*sponge.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Moroccan Inspired Dessert Table

By the ever talented Amy Atlas of Sweet Designs

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Now That's An Entrance

Make sure you pause my playlist before you hit play!